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Mighty Joe Young (1998)

Bill Paxton , Charlize Theron , Ron Underwood  |  PG |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Paxton, Charlize Theron, Rade Serbedzija, Regina King, Peter Firth
  • Directors: Ron Underwood
  • Writers: Mark Rosenthal, Lawrence Konner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305320950
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,959 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mighty Joe Young" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the classic tradition of heroic Disney adventures comes the extraordinary MIGHTY JOE YOUNG -- a thrilling story full of excitement, friendship, courage, and heart. The legendary Joe, a playful, smart fifteen-foot-tall gorilla, and his lifelong best friend Jill Young (Charlize Theron) have grown up together in the remote mountains of Central Africa. When Joe's peaceful existence is shattered by poachers, Jill and zoologist Gregg O'Hara (Bill Paxton) rescue their innocent friend and move him to the safety of an animal conservancy in California. But Joe's safety is short-lived. No longer a myth, his notoriety makes him a target for an enemy from his past -- a ruthless hunter who will do anything to capture the Mighty Joe. From the moment you meet him to his incredible display of courage, Mighty Joe Young will fill your eyes with wonder and your heart with magic.

Charlize Theron is the latest stunning blonde to be hanging around some big ape in a Hollywood movie, this one a remake of the 1949 semi-classic with echoes of the superior King Kong. Theron plays the daugher of an American researcher killed by poachers in Africa. The baby gorilla left in her care grows up to become a hugely tall and broad specimen named Joe, living in the mountains as a mostly unseen legend among people who live there. Along comes an eco-minded emissary (Bill Paxton) from a California sanctuary, who talks the jungle girl into providing safe haven for Joe at the L.A. facility. The transition is not without discomfort, but everything is aggravated via a conspiracy of poachers to get Joe into their own greedy hands. Director Ron Underwood (City Slickers) uses a combination of special-effects techniques to give Joe life and personality, and he succeeds quite effectively. The requisite giant-ape-goes-amok scenes are all in place--a couple of them pretty intense--as is a conclusion that finds the simian hero performing a stunning feat of escalation. Underwood attempts to give a little modern spin to some classic Hollywood conventions regarding wild hearts lost in civilization, and the results are pretty agreeable family fare. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Bresson Movie Not Made By Bresson June 16, 2005
Surprised this picture didn't do better at the box office. After making the dreadful Hearts and Souls (with Alfre Woodard, trying to out-do GHOST) and Speechless (the romantic comedy which killed the careers of both its stars, Geena Davis and Michael Keaton) director Ron Underwood bounced back with this inventive, lively remake of an earlier 1949 movie.

It should have made Charlize Theron, who plays Jill Young, a big, big star, but instead, Charlize had to bumble on for a few more years before winning an Oscar.

James Horner's music outdoes his heart-wrenching symphonic themes for TITANIC, BRAVEHEART, and THE ROCKETEER, with a touch of African percussion and wood and wind instruments that bring the plains of Africa into mind whenever you hear them. Charlize has a lovely song, "Wind Song," sort of a lullaby for Mighty Joe, that should have been a hit on the scale of "MY HEART WILL GO ON." But somehow people just weren't interested in this picture. Maybe the forthcoming remake of KING KONG by Peter Jackson will have better luck with audiences. It will have more publicity, for sure, for I don't think the studio was really behind Ron Underwood to the same degree that New Line supports Jackson.

What a cast! Beyond Charlize and Bill Paxton, the movie also features Naveem Andrews (who plays Sayid on ABC's LOST) in a rather comic role, and also everyone's favorite REGINA KING from RAY.

If you liked AU HASARD BALTHAZAR by Robert Bresson, you will also enjoy MIGHTY JOE YOUNG the remake.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awwwww :) November 9, 2003
Ok, this movie makes me cry every time i see it. stupid i know, but what the hey. I love both Bill Paxton and Charlieze Theron, so that was why I saw it initially, but I just love it. Joe looks realistic with the exception of his tongue, which looks goofy, but it still works for me. great kids movie i think too.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MIGHTY Family fun November 10, 2003
A feel good story for the whole family, don't expect "Mighty Joe Young" to knock you off your feet. Instead, watch it for the good "Beauty and the Beast" storyline that is well outlined for any age group to watch.
There is some violence in this movie, and smaller children may be frightened by "Joe" at first, but if they can control themselves through the first few minutes, they'll fall in love with him. There is very little, if any, foul language.
The story is simple: Girl and giant ape are moved to the city, girl and giant ape want out, man in love with girl helps, everyone ends up happy.
If you're interested, "Joe" looks fairly realistic, especially for the time this flick was made.
Overall, a good family show that all can watch. I highly recommend it for its entertainment value.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good show with morals September 13, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
should have more show as this one,pretty girls, great outdoors and good story.I would see this one again. need more like this, good for all ages
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NEARLY A CLASSIC June 9, 2000
For a movie that, to me, sounded so wrong it somehow managed to get it so right. I was expecting a King Kong "rip off" which had been given a Free Willy style plot, that would be purely for kids. The main problem I usually have with movies about Gorillas, and associated this with Mighty Joe young, is that they seem to be the one animal that effects people still haven't quite been able to perfect yet and always feel fake. In fact the only reason I watched this movie in the first place was because I was bored and my friend had left a copy at my house...oh the joys of fate!
This is an enchanting tale that will capture kids and adults alike, with its story of a giant gorilla that is taken to America to keep it "safe" away from poachers. But of course, things don't go as planned and a heart warming struggle to help Joe find safety and happiness ensues. It basically is an alternative telling of the King Kong story, but it does with grace and a charm that only Disney can provide. The beautiful Charlize Theron is perfect in her jungle woman role and works superbly alongside Bill Paxton. Although the effects still aren't perfect, they are the best gorilla effects I have seen in a movie; at least they don't make you cringe.
The sound and picture quality on the dvd are very good, but the extra features (or lack of them) lets down the film. An insight into the effects would have been good, but no, you have to make do with a poxy trailer and featurette. But don't let this put you off. And if you are the same as I was and are doubting whether you will like it, I urge you to give in. You too might be surprised.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie July 26, 2003
By mj
That movie really was good. At the end, I had a few tears coming out, because I really thought Joe died. Charlize is a true African and played the roll of Jill Young, who took care of Joe.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big ape + beautiful Charlize December 14, 2005
There are many who will say that this movie is a mini-KING KONG. Certainly, they will not be wide of the mark in saying this. There are plenty of parallels between the films, no question. However, being as-such, it is not a good reason to see MJY or not see MJY.

Rather, MJY is quite simply a good movie, period. Whether you compare / contrast it with KK or not, this fact remains the same. It's a much more family-friendly movie than KK and also has a lot more humor than its "big brother."

The biggest reason to watch it, however, is the wonderful Charlize Theron. She is quite simply terrific as the beauty who tries to protect the ape (an ironic twist here) from the outside world. Unlike so many pretty faces in Hollywood, Charlize can actually ACT!

If you're home with the family on a Friday night & you want something that will please everyone, MJY is highly recommended. Can't see anyone NOT liking this movie - period.
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